News, Views, and Information about Disability

Disability News, Views, Information, and Literature

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Maine Has Highest Rate of Workplace Injuries in US; Nursing Homes Are Riskiest Maine Jobs

By Sharon Wachsler

According to a recent report, the state of Maine has the highest rate of serious workplace injuries of any state in the US. The report, "Allsup Study of Workplace Injuries," examines workplace injury rates by location, by type of work/industry — including private sector versus public sector, and by state.

The study was conducted and issued by Allsup, a company that provides representation to people applying for Social Security disability and other forms of disability benefits. [PDF] Data was collected for the year 2011. The number of illness and injury cases at work that required job transfer or restriction in Maine in 2011 was 6200, while there were 14,400 SSDI claims made in the same year.

The measurement of the [PDF] most dangerous workplaces was determined by reports of rates of injuries that were "serious enough to involve days of job transfer or restriction," per 100 full-time workers. The most dangerous workplaces in Maine were singled out as: state- or government-owned nursing and residential-care facilities (with the state rate of 7.1 injuries per 100 workers as compared to the US average of 1.2 for that industry), warehousing and storage (5.2 versus the national average of 2.7), private nursing-care facilities (5.1 versus 2.6), building material and garden equipment and supplies retailers (4.9 versus 2.7).

The fact that "nursing home facilities" and "community care facilities for the elderly" were [PDF] two of the 10 most dangerous industries nationwide — and both of which Maine is among the highest rates of injury for workers — is a disturbing finding. This suggests that not only are the [PDF] residents of such facilities often in danger of serious physical harm, but so are their caretakers, facts which seen very likely to be related.

From ADAPT ( "Our long term care system has a heavy institutional bias. Every state that receives Medicaid MUST provide nursing home services, but community based services are optional. Sixty seven (67%) percent of Medicaid long term care dollars pay for institutional services, while the remaining thirty three (33%) must cover all the community based waivers, optional programs, etc."

It seems to me that one of the best ways to support worker safety and the rights and safety of people with disabilities is to support more independent and community living, instead of relying on the nursing home industrial complex. Which would allow both people with disabilities and care workers more options for safe, sustainable, and enriching living and working opportunities.

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